As the world struggled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there were many stories of despair and hardship. People lost their jobs, their loved ones, and their sense of security. But amid all the chaos and uncertainty, there were also stories of hope, resilience, and kindness. One such story was that of Emma, a nurse who had been working on the frontlines of the pandemic since it began. She had seen firsthand the toll the virus was taking on people's lives, and she was determined to do what she could to make a difference. Emma worked long hours at the hospital, often going days without rest. She saw patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and she did her best to provide them with the care and compassion they needed. Despite the challenges she faced, Emma never lost her sense of purpose or her dedication to her patients. One day, as Emma was finishing her shift, she received a call from her sister. Her sister, who lived in another city, had just given birth to a baby girl. Emma was thrilled to hear the news and couldn't wait to meet her new niece. However, with travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic, Emma wasn't sure if she would be able to visit her sister and her new niece. She felt a pang of sadness at the thought of missing out on such an important moment in her family's life. But then something amazing happened. When Emma's colleagues at the hospital heard about her situation, they rallied around her. They came up with a plan to cover her shifts for the next few days so that she could take some time off to visit her sister and her new niece. Emma was overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. She had always known that her colleagues were dedicated and caring, but this was something else entirely. It was a reminder that, even in the darkest of times, there were still people who were willing to go above and beyond to help others. With tears in her eyes, Emma packed her bags and headed off to see her sister and her new niece. When she arrived, she was greeted with hugs and smiles and the sweet scent of her new niece. She spent the next few days with her family, holding the baby, laughing with her sister, and taking long walks in the fresh air. As she made her way back to the hospital a few days later, Emma felt renewed and re-energized. She knew that there were still many challenges ahead, but she also knew that she wasn't alone. She had her colleagues, her family, and a newfound sense of hope to carry her forward. From that day on, Emma made a point of looking for the bright spots in each day. She smiled more often, laughed more freely, and took the time to appreciate the little things in life. And as she continued to work on the frontlines of the pandemic, she knew that she was making a difference – not just in the lives of her patients, but in her own life as well.
Being grateful is hard. Living through the past twenty months, living full stop, is just... A lot. And at the same time nothing. Unemployment. Words like inflation, depression, deficit, budget cuts, pulling up your boot straps... teaching a man to fish. All of these things that add up to me basically never leaving my dads house like. Ever. Boredom is the absolute worst. When nothing happens. When days pass spent bundled in blankets surrounded by sweet wrappers with the sound of the latest hit Netflix show buzzing in my ears as my eyes flicker shut. Weeks can pass like this. It can be hard to stay grounded. It can be really hard sometimes to remember that there is still a lot of good. And a lot to be grateful for. I did a positive psychology course a couple of years ago in my quest to find out what it is, if anything, that I might be interested in.(Historically I've struggled with finding direction a lot.) One of my main takeaways from the course was to practice being grateful for stuff. To sit down at the end of each day and reflect on something I feel good about. Something that fills me with a sense of gratitude and well being. And to write it out. The writing part is important. There's something about holding the pen in your hand, letting the feelings out through the ink and pen scratchings. I don't do that. What I do is every now and again when I feel. Well... Pissed is probably the right word for it. Fuming would also do. When I'm feeling bad and I'm aware enough to actually do something about it instead of watching more TV I'll write a list. I'll head it 'gratitude list' and I'll write twenty or thirty things that are good about my life. And the pen doesn't even get a look anymore. It's all on a notepad on my phone. And it's rushed. (Sure putting that positive psychology knowhow to work.) when I'm struggling sometimes it might start off with something like 'Have roof over my head' and work my way out to other things more personal to me. My dad's nearly always on there, since he was diagnosed with cancer at the end of last year. A lot of the time there's ice cream. Here is the list I wrote today, to keep me grounded. Gratitude list 20/10/2021: 1.Never having to share my bedroom 2.Having privacy/space when I want it 3.Having my own bookcase (with nearly 100 books) 4.Always having books in the house growing up 5.Knowing how to read 6.Being read to by my parents when I was a kid 7.Having a good head on my shoulders 8.Getting to spend quality time with my dad and brother today 9.Having Ice cream in the freezer 10.Having savings 11.Having spare cash 12.The support my dad has recieved since being diagnosed 13.Mum checking up on me 14.How attracted my fiancee is to me 15.My time at CCAD 16.Getting this time with dad 17.My hair 18.The sparrows that live in the roof nextdoor. Bit of an eclectic one today (and there's that ice cream as predicted) and I fell short of the twenty I usually manage, but these are the things that got me through today. And some of them might sound silly but they matter to me. Reading is a big one. My life has always had stories in it. I'm in love with fiction. When I was a teenager I could devour whole books in a day. Get lost somewhere I actually want to be lost in. I fell out of love with reading for a while there, a period of four or five years, starting when I went to art college. I would try to read and I would struggle though ten pages or so before putting the book down. It just wasn't happening for me. I am so grateful that I have been able to find my way back to fiction and that I was led there in the first place when I was small. Books have been a good friend throughout the pandemic. My current companion is Good Omens (one I was read as a kid.My mum has good taste in stories) and it's as good as the first time I read it. Wracking my brains for something, even something small, that gets me through the day gets me though the day. And there have been so many days that have been hard to get through lately. It doesn't feel like it will end. But as long as there's sunshine, cute animal videos and £1 bars of chocolate I will have something to smile about, even if that smile is smaller some days than others. And I can carry them around in my pocket too and look them up on my phone whenever I need reminding that life isn't too bad, even when it's really bad.
COVD-19 came a shock for so many people, myself included. After the 2007 H1N1 outbreak, I assumed there would be another world-wide disease that would affect those with chronic upper respiratory health issues. As an asthmatic and someone who has had pneumonia more than ten times, this was something I could not risk. Being prepared was necessary. The last thing I needed was to be hospitalized for such an illness, especially since I have been hospitalized for asthma and pneumonia many times. Stocking up one medication became routine for me. I stopped waiting until I needed asthma medication to get refills. Nebulizer's break, nebulizer equipment breaks, I now have three; including one that has its own battery pack, in case I can't be near an outlet. Being overprepared became a hobby of mine. Nearly a decade and a half later, I finally wasn't the odd one with a huge stack of medication. March 2020, COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. Like many, I was laid off and found myself at home. Luckily, my husband still had his job and his health insurance. We were secure financially and had that safety net. Laid off just sounded negative, so I labeled myself a “stay-at-home cat mom,” to which my husband wasn't thrilled about. I really enjoy being home, I find it relaxing and it turns out, something I can do with ease for longer than I ever realized. My husband, Chris, recharges and relaxes being around friends. I relax and recharge at home, alone with the cats, without my husband. I was getting something out of life I never thought I would get until retirement. While my husband was going mad stuck at the house, especially when all of his hobbies involved interacting with other people. Chris was constantly bugging me, wanting to figure out what to do besides playing board games. He wanted to be with his friends, even though he was still working and getting out. While my husband was feeling the negatives, I felt amazing. Prior to COVID, I was working insane hours, I had my volunteering, family I was responsible for in other states, and what felt like a million other things. To me, getting laid off was a blessing. I was free to recharge, I was free to be me without responsibilities getting in the way. First thing I did, I bought $500 worth of bulk yarn. When that box came, I was happier to see that than when I fully paid off my car. My grin was ear to ear. I officially set up a craft and cat room. I moved my big comfortable chair, I moved the cat tower, I reorganized the closet and empty guest room became mine. All mine, and the cats of course. Before I knew it, I was staying up until 3 or 4 am crocheting. Item after item, presents for babies that my cousins weren't even pregnant with. Presents for friends and family member's next 5 birthdays and Christmas presents. My craft closet was and still is overflowing. I couldn't be happier. The cats couldn't be happier spending the time with me and laying on all of my new projects. I needed a challenge. Staying all night crafting wasn't enough for me, I needed more. Expansion, more complicated patterns, clothing, anything to get out of my comfort zone. Once I started breaking out of my comfort zone, I spent several months making only clothes. After a few weeks, I started writing my own patterns because I couldn't find a pattern for something that matched what was in my head. Every day needed to be a new challenge. Longing for more creativity and creating things I never thought I could; it was actually happening. Without the distraction of work, family, friends, volunteering and general life, I surpassed anything I ever thought I could make. My grandmother even said I surpassed her skills, which was such an honor to hear and accomplish. Sadly, my grandmother got sick and I needed to take care of her. Luckily, I was out of work and able to do so. As she got transferred to hospice, I knew the end wasn't far. I crocheted a dress for her funeral, all while sitting in hospice with her. Creating a dress, past her crocheting abilities, and wearing it to her funeral is something I felt honored her and the skills she taught me. Being forced to be home for so long during COVID-19 allowed me to challenge myself and allowed my creativity to shine. The more I crafted, the more I wanted and couldn't stop. Many people focus on the negative aspects of COVID-19, I have done my best to focus on the positive. I decided that I want this to be my life, I want my creativity to shine every single day. COVID-19 inspired me to open my own crafting business. While things are just getting started, it will be a slow process and take a lot of work, I know I can do it. The challenges I faced during COVID-19 ended up being one of the most positive things in my life because it motivated me to do something I truly love and make money off of my passion. I am now a business owner, selling things I make and enjoy making. Thank you COVID-19 for challenging me to change my life.
I have never been comfortable with myself. Since I was 10 years old I have never thought of myself as pretty. I was heavier and everyone around me knew. I was made fun of countless times. I cried myself to sleep on a day in middle school I was told by a boy that he wouldn't square dance with me because I was fat and disgusting. I was 11. I thought this was normal. When I was in high school the weight issue seemed to be imprinted in my mind. I had a job as a lifeguard. I loved swimming and thought this was a good way to exercise. I was made fun of by my peers I worked with. That summer I lost 20 pounds. I refused to eat. I wouldn't be happy with myself until I lost weight. I started sophomore year as a size 2! A size 2... I still didn't feel good enough. Boys still didn't like me and I didn't like me. I'm now 26 and could have been in a awful headspace if it werent for my loving family, friends and peers. Women should not have to think about this constantly. Women have to look a certain way to get a guy? Or keep a guy!? It truly scares me how image obsessed we are. This is what makes girls (and guys) have eating disorders body dismorphia and the feeling of never being good enough .... I felt compelled to say this because I worked at the boys and girls club and mind you this person is 9 years old. This little girl told me she didn't want to go to a water park for her birthday because she would have to be seen in a bathing suit. She is 9!!! This little girl missing out on life because of her concerns of how she looks to other people?! What have we done.
During this pandemic it has really brought out how different personalities react in stressful or difficult situations. I believe the best approach no matter your personality is to keep a positive mindset. No matter the numbers or whats happening with this pandemic their is only a small number of things that we can control. The number one thing we can control that will help us is our mindset, our reactions and the precautions that we personally can take. We cannot force others to do what we believe is right but we can take the right precautions and be the example for others to follow. First thing is to maintain a positive mental attitude no matter what. When we are positive we can be a force for good in the world and be a light for others to look to. Going into the negativity only brings us down and diminishes what we can accomplish. Stay positive, think of all the things this pandemic has helped us realize; like the importance of our family. Think of all the things your grateful for, all the things you still can do, the virus has take somethings from us no doubt about that, but it has showed us that the most important things like family, love, our relationships can never be taken from us. Second thing we can control are the precautions that we can take. What we know that helps stop the spread is wearing face masks, staying six feet from others, sanitize hands often, and cover your coughs and sneezes. If we all commit to taking these precautions it will set the example for others to do the same. Third thing we can control is our own mental state. Believe it or not but It doesn't really help to be looking up and know the numbers of cases. The only thing that does is stress us out more. Always focus on the positive. When the numbers actually start to decrease you will hear about it. Constantly checking numbers only makes us feel more helpless. Control what you can control. Know that you can't control how many people getting this virus. Know that you can control your mental attitude and staying positive is always the best option. Know that you can set the example for others to follow and take the precautions set out by the CDC is the best way to prevent speeding this virus. Remember positivity always wins!
Life is a wonderful journey for those who are ready to see it unfold and are prepared to receive the surprises and shocks that might be thrown towards them. For some people, life is an uninspiring labour because what they expected and what life gifted them were two different poles. Things on which we are having control seem to be easier than those on which we don't have any control. Obviously. Such uncontrollable circumstances take the name of problems. Every problem has its own solution. It is just like how every lock is made with a key. Once a person is born on this earth, no matter how hard he/she tries, can never escape the clutches of this life until the time to leave the world comes. So basically, there is no point in sitting and moaning about things happening around us. If we have the rights to cherish the good moments of life, likewise we are also having the responsibility to battle against the sad moments of life. “Every problem has its own solution; you just need to find it.”😊 Only then will your mind open up to search for solutions. Our mind is one of those wonderful creations of God fixed in a human body that can solve all the strange mysteries of this beautiful planet. We need to use it well and believe in our efforts which shall further go on to solve the problem. There are a lot of people out there who create problems. There are a lot out there who just complain about problems. There are plenty of those who only see the problems and run away from them accepting defeat. None of these three categories of people take any action to solve anything. I simply believe that when adversity knocks.... one needs to simply knock it out. Something very unique happened this year. We were struck in a mysterious dilemma this Ramadan (the month in which Muslims from all over the world observe one month of fasting) 2020. It is always such a spiritually encapsulating experience, that for those thirty days we believe we can be better people and we do our best to become them.😌 However, this year, ever since the government-mandated lockdown was imposed all over the world and in India on account of the corona virus pandemic, people had been advised to stay indoors, and this has had quite an effect on the spiritual and social aspect of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims go out for Iftar (post-fast meal congregation), Suhoor (pre-fast meal congregation), go to the mosque for prayers, and to the markets for shopping, buying food and plenty more with our friends and families. Ramadan has indeed been a bit glum this year. It was for the first time in many years, that the streets were desolate, and it definitely dampened our spirits to a little extent. But since, every problem has its own solution so we needed to find something positive out of it, so this Ramadan the lack of distractions helped us focus wholly on improving ourselves spiritually. The grim situation in the world made us a lot more grateful for everything we have. It brought us closer to the Almighty and everyone has finally started to care for lesser fortunate people. Corona virus is a proof that the tables can turn at any point and it is very important to be kind. Ramadan this year felt way more special, we were actually doing what we are meant to. Offering more prayers than usual and remembering God more often. I also believe that people secretly liked the solitude and loneliness this Ramadan. The pandemic did have an effect on the celebrations, but it was good in a way because there has been less waste and no hectic shopping. It is true that Eid was low spirit wise. Because that is the one day when everyone lets loose, from sales, shopping, gathering, dinners, all of it. People use to meet relatives and friends and the festivities continue for a lot more days. But during the times of pandemic, with all of us stuck indoors, unable to go to the mosques for community prayers, unlike in the past, we made it a private and a closed-door affair in order to combat Covid-19. And everyone prayed for the situation to turn normal. Almost all the festivals were celebrated in a similar way, with less pomp and show and greater connection with God. Our country has a lot of festivals, and we as Indians compromised and that too, willingly for our well being. What we need to remember is that this quarantine is not going to last forever. Right now it is important for us to stay inside and do our part for our benefit as well as of the world's. We need to extract the positive aspect from this scenario. So overall, this quarantine is not less than any 'Blessing In Disguise' for all of us. In fact my first ever book 'Born & Raised On A Go' is a result of this pandemic only.😇 ( You may check it out here :- https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Farheen_Ali_Born_Raised_On_a_Go?id=6Dz2DwAAQBAJ )
We humans often forget about the purpose of life. Life is like a song; it has ups & downs but it does not stop. It goes on and on and after a certain period, it stops for good. So ultimately you have only one song in your entire life but the content of your song is being written by you. This is how we are unique from one another. Here I am about writing my own song. And the main watchword of my song is Hope. Every day I hope to see the new sun which shines brighter than the previous one. But as the day passes by, I get to realize that the day is as dull as before. I question myself so often what is the point of my life? When I was a kid, I could not talk properly. While I got nervous, I started to stammer and could not express what I wanted to. Once I was participating in a science festival where I was presenting my project. A visitor came and told me to explain it then and there, I instantly got nervous and could not say a word in front of him. What a shame! That day I questioned myself about my worth, my ability; I felt so low. I dreamt to become a motivational speaker whereas I could not say a word in front of the stranger. I thought of it as a consequence of humiliation. Ever since, I vowed to myself that I would make a turnabout in my life. I started to practise more and more until I stopped hesitating to talk in the presence of people. I constructed it as a challenge for myself and I successfully overcame it. It gives me the urge to overcome all the problems and helps me find the solutions to every situation. But there was a time when I was in constant pain. It was more like a wicked perception which changed the meaning of my life, on the contrary you may call it depression. People often fall ill with depression, they lose themselves in the battlefield of living where living is the only reward. Mostly people often keep themselves occupied with physical check-up, they often overlook maintaining the mental health. They disregard the fact that our physical condition relies on our mental condition. I never support giving up. Many things are battling inside of my mind but I never learn to give up. Like after every night, the sun rises and lighten our world; our sufferings will pass away when the good days will arrive. As a final year grad student, things are really hard to decide in which plan I should stick in. Enormous responsibilities are forthcoming. I would be introduced with a whole new world. This feeling breaks me each time whenever I think of it. What if I fail to locate a fine good job? What if I disappoint my parents for not being what they want me to be? I am torn apart whenever I think of it. I will blame the society for creating the storm inside of me. It seems like this society nourishes negativity to raise us. It makes me wonder how the flowers have stopped to bloom. This negative wave turns the flowers into depressed souls. But one thing I want to ask the society keenly, “Did you ever think of preaching love instead of hatred?” Our life would be quite simpler and easier then. We should stop following the shadow that guides us towards darkness. Because I believe in Light. Life is tragic. Nothing goes on as per our expectation but still life goes on. We must overcome the negativity to make the world a better place. I have valid reasons to feel miserable. But this is also me who comprehend the situation as fixable. For this, the first and foremost work is to change the notion of the society. Nothing but spreading love of positivity can defeat it. Once when I was in class four, I got terribly sick. I was so dedicated to my study, so I could not even miss going to school. That very day, my body temperature got extremely high and suddenly I puked in front of the whole class. The situation was quite embarrassing, I almost cried for what just happened. My teachers helped me get clean but that day something worse happened. After getting cleaned up when I started to continue my lecture, nobody sat with me; not even my best friend. She stopped talking to me from the very day. I still don't know what was my fault. In which parameter she judged me, I don't know. Actually I don't want to know anymore. From that day, I decided to be humble to everyone. If you are being judged for the blames that you aren't responsible for, stop caring about it. Because life is wonderful. Life never stops to amaze you whether it is for good experience or bad. But never give up. There is a saying that the deeper the dark, the closer the dawn. Wait for the dawn. The dawn will arrive and take all the dark shadows from you.
She used to sit by the sea and watch the waves dance rhythmically and lively as if they were playing a child's game. The white sea balls in the water rose and fell calmly, keeping their distance. They preferred ‘social distancing'. The sun burned like a fiery wreath. The elderly woman near the sea was reading a leaflet. She probably found it thrown away. The words of the advertisement sounded provocative. She walked into the sea, opened her arms to the sky as if she wanted to make a rainbow. She faced the sun, as if flirting with it. She was doing something that was totally hers.She danced like a ballerina, turning around, making rings with her body. She warmly greeted the hot circle of fire.The sun might turned a blind eye at her, like the famous advertisement. Even this word, if read in French, becomes vitalité. The dictionary could explain more: caractére de ce qui manifeste une santé. Indeed, she felt vitality and energy. She was possessed by a teenage vibrancy, as if something inside her had been reborn or perhaps never died. What feeling dominated her? How could she feel lonely when the Mediterranean Sea stretched out in front of her? Maybe she was celebrating something that was gone. Maybe she was celebrating something that was coming. It was so reminiscent of the movie 'La dolce vita'. She took her towel, lit a cigarette and left. Those were the summer days. These days like keeping a distance too. And now, silence or solitude?Could silence mean solitude? The children. They were adults now.They had to protect her from any risk of social contacts. Suddenly, she remembered that she had to clean the windows of the house. They were really blurry. Even the images of her imagination became blurry too. Now she could see clearly. The time was 19.10 o' clock. She saw him again passing by. Τhe air one more time swept away the brown leaves and the silence is non negotiable. The absence is obvious on his face. Every night he appeared passing by the same street. He didn't talk to her. She liked to watch him walking. She found it somehow interesting to watch people on the street passing by. His walk was quick as he passed by the palm trees.Every night, he passed by. Nothing had really changed for him. No social distancing codes or any other kind of norms. His white jacket and blue jeans seemed slightly worn and his long messy hair together with his grey beard gave the impression of a revolutionary. He was wearing a large earring that could mean a deliverance. Perhaps it could just symbolize the concept of freedom. Who was he? She wondered many times but never actually tried to find out. That was not the point… Why want to destroy the images of her imagination. He always continued his way. He lights a cigarette looking for a tiny moment at the sky. Maybe he was searching for a silence that speaks loudly. A thought seems to occupy his mind for a few seconds. He finishes the cigarette and throws the butt away, like getting rid of something suspicious. Sirens of a police car sounded remotely. A police car seemed to be getting closer. What was going on? The elderly woman was so curious now. The story began to be getting really exciting. The brown leaves together with the cigarette butt, flew away rhythmically with excitement too. The passer-by does not seem to care or feel scared of something. For him everything is so conventional. The police car stopped in front of him. Two young police officers seemed to be asking him something and then the passerby showed them something on his cell phone and then they left. He was just a passer-by. Nothing more. A passer-by in his own path. He is bored. His youth was now gone. All kinds of experiences of yesterday are always fresh to his memory. Now he was just walking. No particular direction. He does not care where to go. He lives for today. Even if today seems boring. He is a revolutionary. He is moving forward freely. The empty streets and the discarded masks do not seem to influence his thoughts. Could the ‘system' define the measure to his freedom? He used to defy all these norms in the past. Could he be different now…? The elderly woman remembered her own personal slogan ‘vitalité…' and thought that they had something in common….She always enjoyed watching the neighbors through her window. Sometimes she even wished that she could invite them to her house for a coffee but then she knew that she couldn't. Elderly people should be more careful and keep social distancing rules more strictly. She hated that. How many times would she clean the house or watch television? All programs on the television were either boring or news with all the sad information on people dying due to the pandemic. People seem to be more scared and alone than ever. But what if all humans started to feel more vitality instead of hiding themselves behind complaints and murmurs.The passer-by on the street suddenly waved at her for the first time…
With backpacks on our backs, dreams in our hearts and stars in our eyes, my husband (Jason) and I (Heena), set off on an adventure of a lifetime…travelling around the world. Sadly, only after 133 days, our adventure came to a sudden halt. Why? Well, you've probably heard of the most common and biggest enemy of 2020, it goes by several names – Covid-19 / Coronavirus / SARS-CoV-2. Of course, not just our lives, Coronavirus brought the whole world to a standstill. Cities that never sleep, all of a sudden found their roads deserted. Ever busy airports were ghost towns. Shops and restaurants were closed. Buses and trains ran empty. People were fearful and anxious…no longer just of catching the ghastly virus, but of each other! The super powers of the world were playing blame games (surprise) and capitalism was brought down to its knees! We, unfortunate nomads, got stuck in Medellin, Colombia – with our fates in the hands of the raging Coronavirus. Quarantine life Unbeknown to us, Coronavirus was travelling across the world a whole lot faster than us. Before the situation flared up, we were in Bogota, still making jokes about those odd people wearing masks and gloves. We ourselves had a mild scare when Jason complained about being out of breath. I say mild, as not long after he had complained, we realised we had flown in from sea-level to one of South America's highest cities. Well, no wonder he was out of breath! We decided to travel to Medellin, so that we could live our “lockdown sentence” in the “city of eternal spring”, in a milder climate – Bogota was a bit cold for our liking. The initial days were a pleasant blur. We moved into a self-catering flat, over indulged in fine wines and home-cooked meals. We caught up with our families and friends via video calls. However, those fun filled days soon disappeared when we learnt that a colleague back home had died of Coronavirus, and then, we found ourselves in a dark abyss. Our colleague's death hit home. Jason and I, stuck in a studio flat, 24/7, had no choice but to talk about our feelings of losing someone we admired and respected. It wasn't easy, it was painful, it hurt so bad. We both experienced sudden spurts of emotions and ended up in pools of tears. We realised though; we were lucky to have each other. We spent hours talking about our fears of losing family members or friends back home and not being able to bid adios to them. Those were complex talks and we learnt so much more about ourselves and each other. Let me add here - we've been together for 13 years, and I thought (so wrongly) that surely, we know all we need to know about each other? It goes to show we are always learning! Once we were able to rise above the dark abyss, we decided to focus on the positives, and developed routines (Jason really took to sweeping the floor!) to enable us to have a purpose. We reflected on our past journeys, reminisced about the incredible people we had met on our travels, and the life changing experiences we had gained in those 133 days. We wrote blogs about our experiences; those were beautiful times – we were reliving our memories. With lockdowns being extended every two weeks in Medellin, we were in a desperate need of a change of scenery. So, we moved to a bigger and a nicer flat to maintain our sanity. Respecting and accepting change We have accepted this life dictated by Coronavirus. It hasn't been easy – our freedom being taken away has really kicked us in our backsides. I have my highs and lows, and sometimes, several in a day! However, writing has been my unselfish comrade, that has helped me find some equilibrium in my life. It has aided me to stay positive and process my thoughts, in turn enabling me to respect and accept the “new normal” way of living. Writing about my feelings, fears and experiences, has provided me with a vital medium to create a robust bridge between anxiety and self-preservation. I received lots of positive messages from people around the world, who have read my stories and experiences. They have shared with me their own quarantine ups and downs. Knowing that other people were experiencing similar fears, really helped me to feel less of an emotional wreak! We discussed our routines and what was helping us to maintain our emotional well-being. Those beautiful intricacies of newly formed virtual friendships, have empowered me to continue to connect. I have created some meaningful bonds that have proven to be nothing less than a life-line. Hope I hope for a life free of Coronavirus. I hope that people maintain what seems to be a new found respect for Mother Earth. I hope people continue to be caring and kind towards one another. Lastly, I hope we do not take this life for granted. All we have is now, so let us live life to the fullest and write about it whenever we can!
Between war, negative life circumstances, depression and my dreams which one will win? You will be an important person, an American soldier told me. Alone in the jungle, I am freezing, I am hungry, I am afraid. There is a lot of blood. Let me hide. There are dead bodies. What's going on? I do not know where I am. I am lost, I am afraid of Dracula. The Bush is moving, it might be a lion, not maybe a tiger or cheetah. Oh my God, I am too young to die. Anyway, I am not ready to die. Come on, dying at this age. I just totalized 11 years old one week ago. “I am screaming mom, dad, where are you? Like ten times”. My parents are not responding. I am hearing some noise, it is a roar. How did I get in a jungle? All these thoughts in my head, let me take a nap and maybe tomorrow will be a better day. I remembered Mama once said to me “jo never ever forget to pray before sleeping" in my prayer I thought God to bring back my parents and help me remember what happened? I found a tree where there was a little bit moon shadow far away from those dead bodies. I decided to force myself to sleep despite it was cold. In my dream, my mom and dad calling my name I am alone in the jungle. It was all dark. ''They found me and mom asked me why am I alone and crying?" "I told them I am lost, and I was looking for you". "'My dad told me don't cry any more, my son". "You are the son of a leader who will be a leader". "He said son remembered you have my blood." "I gave you everything u need". "Life is going to be difficult but if you are keeping working hard and praying". "One day you will be successful and make us proud". "Life took us away from you, but we are watching over you and just know we love you". After that, I saw a person with a bright shadow appearing and tell them the time is up. My mom and dad hugged me for the last time, and they disappeared. Directly I woke up in the jungle early in the morning, I thought about my dream, but I realised what happened yesterday was a bad dream. instead, it is a reality; I am a child turned a man. So, I decided to find a way out or find where people are. I started walking, walking without resting and I didn't eat. I kept walking until I saw a river. I was thirsty so I decided to drink water from the river, and it tastes like salt, but I had no choice. Then I had a pen and a small paper in my pocket, but I don't know where it was from. the pen I had in my pocket just felt down in the river. It started flowing and I decided to follow the pen as I followed the pen, I saw a girl running so I decided to follow her. By following her, I saw there was a kind of armed soldiers I never saw before after her, so I decided to run smartly behind them to discover what is going on? Then I saw one of the soldiers getting out of the car and took her by force, so I was behind the remaining soldiers. I saw the soldier who was before her, trying to take off her clothes so she is shouting leave me alone and I thought they want to rape her.